brahma shrine

MJ LIKES TO DRAW | Urban Sketcher | Las Vegas Brahma Shrine

After I completed my drawing of one of the many entrances of Caesars Palace, I could smell encent. I didn't expect to encounter that kind of scent in Vegas, so I investigated. It didn't take me long to find a Brahma shrine, with praying podiums and burning encent surrounding it.  People would come around, light an encent stick and take pictures. From what I understand, Brahma is the Hindu god of creation.

First, I decided to draw just the statue. I found a larger shaded area and started sketching. Of course I ended up sketching much more than the four faced statue. It took a while because there are so many details, but it was fun to figure out. It's also interesting to realize how much more details you see when you take the time to draw something as opposed to taking a picture. It gave me a better appreciation of the benefits of sketching scenes like this. I noticed for example that elephants seemed to be an important part of the shrines. Not only were there four large elephant surrounding the entire structure, there was also a bunch of them surrounding the statue. 

caesars palace

MJ LIKES TO DRAW | Urban Sketcher | Las Vegas - Caesars Palace
The Caesars Palace is a huge property on the strip with lots of great scenes to draw from. While walking down the strip, looking for something interesting to draw, I decided to draw one of the main entrances to the Casino. I found a little area with a little bit of shade. Little did I know, it would take me about an hour to complete the drawing and the sun "moves" fast. By the time I was done, I didn't have much shade to protect me from the scorching mid day sun. I learned my first lesson there : In Vegas, if you're going to draw outside in the middle of the day, make sure you stay in a place with plenty of shades and bring water with you!

MJ LIKES TO DRAW | Urban Sketcher | Las Vegas - Caesars Palace

I added the color afterward when I was back in the hotel. It's one of my favorite pieces of this trip.

Beijing Noodle No 9

MJ LIKES TO DRAW | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas - Beijing Noodle No 9 Restaurant
This is my second time at Beijing Noodle No 9 in the Caesars Palace. I was so impressed with the decor and the food that I had to go back. I sat in front of the giant aquarium filled with gold fishes near the entrance.

MJ LIKES TO DRAW | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas - Beijing Noodle No 9 Restaurant

On my right you could see the chef making hand stretched noodles, which is what they are known for.  There's also a television facing outside the restaurant, showing all the different ways to create noodles.  It's an fascinating process and you can stretch them, shave them, roll them, cut them, pull them, etc. Who knew you could be so creative with something as simple as noodles. I decided to go with the War Wonton noodle soup with hand stretched noodles. It was very good. 
MJ LIKES TO DRAW | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas - Beijing Noodle No 9 Restaurant

waiting lines

MJ LIKES TO DRAW | Urban Sketches | Las  Vegas | waiting line airport

I recently had the opportunity to go to Las Vegas and decided to used my free time to sharpen my urban sketching skills. The very first drawing of this particular trip was done while waiting in line to go through the border at the airport. There's a lot of waiting involved, hence plenty of time to do a little sketch here and there. 

I didn't bring too much tools with me. In fact I forgot to bring a pencil, which meant that I couldn't erase anything and had to work with my "mistakes".  What you see on the right side of the above photo is basically what I had with me. I only brought two pilot pens and my notebook on site. Back in the hotel room, I would add a bit of color here and there with my box of watercolor pencils. I never used them before, so I did a bit of experimenting. 

The goal was to complete the entire sketchbook during my stay and I succeeded :) Stay tuned for more Urban Sketches from Vegas in the next following days. 


Blown Covers Contest Autumn | MJ Likes to Draw | Dog fall leaves
It's been a while since I took the time to participate to the Blown Covers contest. Oddly enough, after it changed from being a weekly contest to being a monthly contest, for some reason, I just couldn't find the time. But I did find some time to submit a drawing for last month's theme: autumn, as you can see above. 

My idea was to show the contrast of feelings that occurs when it comes to the fall season, specifically falling leaves. So you have a super happy dog playing in the leaves and a super annoyed man looking at all the leave he has to pick up. I started with a little sketch in pencil as shown below. I might have been influenced by all the dogs I've been interacting with lately, but I really like it. Below is the initial sketch. 
  Blown Covers Contest Autumn | MJ Likes to Draw | Dog fall leaves

waiting for our sandwiches

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawa Centertown Bowich Restaurant
About a year ago a brother and sister team from Toronto opened this really neat boutique sandwich shop downtown Ottawa called Bowich. It's one of my favorite places to grab a bite in the area. They make amazing sandwiches and tasty soups. It usually takes a little while to get the sandwiches, as they are made fresh to order, but really worth the wait. So today I decided to bring my little sketchbook to do a little urban sketching while we were waiting for our sandwiches. It a really neat place, one of the rare one in the area with a modern flair. This is a view of the kitchen area behind the ordering counter. I'll probably bring my sketchbook there to record more views of the space.

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawa Centertown Bowich Restaurant

outdated urban planning

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Apartment building and commercial buildings - Centertown, Ottawa

I find the urban planning in the city of Ottawa to be quite odd at times and very impractical. Here's a perfect example of urban planning that needs a serious update. Located in Centertown, the building on the far left (I believe it's a residential rental building) is so closed to the building next to it that it's impossible to maintain or repair the siding on either buildings. Consequently, the siding of the building on the left looks rotted out. Also, the second building includes a restaurant the main floor. So if ever there is a fire in the kitchen of the restaurant, it would easily spread out to the building next to it. 

Another design "feature" that bothers me is the way the parking space is arranged. Parking is located at the back of the buildings with entrance on the sides of some buildings. The alley leading to the parking  lot is very narrow. Only one car can go through at a time. And since there's not enough parking, one of the alley is also used for parking. Which means that the car stuck in the centre has to plan ahead with the owners of the two other car, when it's time to leave. 

ottawa apartment building

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Apartment building - Centertown, Ottawa
It's interesting to see what people do with their balcony downtown Ottawa in older buildings. In this case some people added a structure to fully enclose their balcony, (like the one on the fourth row from the top on the left and the one on the fifth row from the top on the left). The balcony on the fourth row from the bottom on the left decided to as some sort of mesh instead to completely closer the outdoor space. I'm assuming it's to keep pigeons from dirtying their space. That can be a problem when you have neighbors who enjoys feeding them on a regular basis.   

Satellite dishes are also something you typically find mostly in older or lower income buildings. Most buildings. There were only a handful of satellite dishes on this building. I noticed that one balcony has two dishes. I guess TV's an important part of their lifestyle.